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Talkback: Growing spring flowers for bumblebees

higgy50higgy50 Posts: 184
This is a really interesting post Kate and timely as I spent most of the day last Saturday planting my Crocus, Snakes Head Fritillary, allium and anemone bulbs also! I didn't managed to get all the bulbs planted as my planting required lifting sections of lawn to try and get about 300 bulbs under it!!

I plant purely for pollinators and other wildlife and have a terrific array of Summer and Autumn flowering plants but very little in Spring. It is because of this that I have been thinking for some time that I must get more Spring flowers in the garden for early pollinators.

Despite my best efforts on Saturday I still have a lot of bulbs left to plant including a few others worth considering for early pollinators such as...

Ornithoqalum umbellatum, Anemone Coronaria, Anemone SR MR FOKKER, Crocus chry Gypsy Girl and Crocus chry Snow Bunting.

A more unusual Spring bulb but excellent if you have heavy wet ground is CAMASSIA, which I've had quite good success with early Bumblebees visiting them. I only had a few in the garden so have planted another 50 or so of three different varieties to see if any are better than the others...

Best regards



  • You can grow camassia in grass ( Christo LLoyds garden at Great Dixter has them in the grass leading to the front door of his house), or in pots, which is what I do, to make sure I don't accidentally plant over them, or dig them up  image

  • A recent piece of research at Sussex univ. has shown that majoram is the very best plant for nectar for insects, followed by lavendar. You could grow some in pots in the GH to bring it on early enough for the queens?

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,421

    Grow Pulmonaria rubra and allow the annual red dead-nettle to seed. They're both ready and waiting for the early bees.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Is Pulmonaria rubra a wildflower Nutcutlet?  Sorry, I don't yet know any of

    the latin names for flowers!  Also I've been told that oxeye daisies and poppies

    thrive a lot better if they have some tall wild grasses to support them - does

    anyone know the name of tall grasses that would compliment both these

    flowers, but wouldn't take over too much and restrict their growth?

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,421

    Hi ffb. I don't think P. rubra is native. P.officinalis might be but isn't flowering from the new year ready for the bees.

    Cock's foot grass is pretty upright, a lot of meadow grasses fall over with the flowers.


    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Thanks Nutcutlet - will have a look at that!  image

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